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Check Out Marc Toso’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marc Toso.

Hi Marc, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I have always been interested in photographing things that cannot be seen. I think of a photo as an idea more than an image. In my “day job” I work as a microscopist, photographing structures hidden and too small for the human eye to see unaided.

In my photography career, I am interested in the hidden vastness of the universe. Around 2010 with the advent of affordable DSLRs, I realized photographing the universe had become quite accessible. I began scouring Utah for dark sites, locations hidden from the blankets of electric light pollution with which we are covering the planet.

Over the next few years, I explored the southern Utah desert. I journeyed to many sites of ancient art and ancestral dwelling of the indigenous American people. I began to pursue a photographic collection of these sites under the night sky. I feel photographing these places beneath truly dark and unpolluted skies is the closest way to experience them in their original context.

I have been very fortunate that these images have taken on a life beyond me. They have been a small part of the protection of these lands. Organizations like Utah Dine Bikeyah, Friends of Cedar, Patagonia, and others have been able to utilize these images for the preservation of these lands as well as for cultural preservation and revitalization as well.

None of this was ever intentional but I have been blessed by the path these photographs have had the opportunity to travel.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Has it been a smooth road? This is a very difficult question for me. I never sought to make this a career for myself. I simply pursued that which I loved. Yet it has been a struggle at times.

The production of these images involves long hours of driving, sometimes long and potentially hazardous hikes in the desert and mountains, as well as a lack of sleep. Many times they are physically exhausting experiences.

I struggle with the dichotomy of a desire to produce while resistant to the process. I have truly been my biggest roadblock. I have been fortunate that many doors have opened for me, but most of my struggle is choosing to walk through them or not.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am most known for night photography, specifically night photography in the Bears Ears National Monument.

I have been driven to photograph rock art beneath the light of the milky way. It’s the night that inspires me. I initially believed I was refuge fleeing the light polluted urban glare but I do not understand I was more of a pilgrim seeking the night. In this seeking, I not only looked outwards but also within and learned about who and what we are as humans.

In the night sky, we see the origin of everything. Hydrogen fuses into helium. Atoms coalesce into the rocky matter of our home Earth, mingling and changing via the pressure and friction of stone. Geochemistry rising to biochemistry. From this mix of atoms and biochemical reactions, consciousness and awareness have emerged. Human emotion, needs, dreams, fears, war and tenderness, love and hate, culture and art all manifested via this intermingling of atoms and molecules.

Our carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, everything came from the inside of those burning spheres. We are all atoms, everything is. But what is unique and special, is you and I know it. We contemplate it. These atoms came together and carved that art on the sandstone a millennium ago.

Somehow, through all of this, Meaning happened. Humanity and the stars are one and the same. The night sky is beautiful and we are beauty staring back at itself.

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